Parsons Paris Internship Program + Usbek & Rica

usbekrica-magsIn the Fall of 2014, the Strategic Design and Management program at Parsons Paris launched an internship program for its BBA students. The program involves 60 hours of professional immersion with innovative start-ups in Paris. Jeanne Granger, a Parsons Paris faculty member and Parisian social entrepreneur, has spearheaded this program working with Ouishare, the global collaborative economies network based in Paris. An important part of Jeanne’s work is to translate the American style of internship that is integrated into Parsons’ educational structure, for a Parisian business context, where the French style of internship or ‘stage’ follows a more extensive format. This translation is a first step in the cross-cultural experience offered by this program, in which students gain first-hand knowledge of the collaborative economies entrepreneurship community in France and Europe, with all the challenges and opportunities posed by this exciting, emerging business context.

Based on this collaboration, Tyler Stafford, a sophomore mobility student for the semester, was given the opportunity to work with Usbek & Rica, a press group forefronting current trends and prospective innovations that are re-shaping contemporary economies. In addition to their quarterly magazine, workshop hosting, and other activities, Usbek & Rica has recently crowd-funded, through Kiss Kiss Bank Bank, an exciting project called MakerBox to help make FabLabs more accessible. We spoke with Tyler about his experiences.

Tyler Stafford
Tyler Stafford

Did you know Usbek et Rica before you came to Paris? How did you get the gig?
No, I didn’t. I was matched up [through the internship program] because of my interests and experience. It’s called the ‘magazine of the future’ and has a really interesting approach. 

How much work was it?
It was a few hours a week, but flexible, which was nice.

What kind of work did you do? What was the best part of your experience?
I worked primarily on research, which is interesting because Usbek et Rica has a very sustainable business model- the magazine establishes credibility which allows them to sell research reports and actually make a profit. I also sat in on weekly meetings to gain a better understanding of how the company operated.

usbekrica-office
Inside the Usbek & Rica office

Was the internship in French or English? Did that affect how you worked?
While most conversations in the office were in French, everyone was bilingual and spoke English with me.

Any other major differences about internships in France vs. the U.S.?
I think that French internships are much more structured- everyone at the company was surprised that I was there for such a short time period. In my experience, however, internships differ more based on the size of the company rather than location.

Do you have any general advice about getting an internship?
If you play your cards right, you don’t have to work for free. Be your own advocate. Don’t feel like you have to do an internship through school or the way it’s “supposed” to be done. You don’t have to do internships for credit. An internship I found my freshman year turned into a paid gig which I’m lucky to have had!

What’s next for you?
I head back to NYC. I’m interning for a PR firm and also working at a magazine, but my main interest is creative direction. I recently founded a creative agency with a friend and hope I can put most of my resources into developing a solid client base.

The internship program will continue to expand internship offerings to Parsons Paris students across programs and set up relationships with a growing number of Parisian organizations and companies. Any organisations in Paris who may be interested in hosting a student internship are encouraged to reach out to parsonsparis@newschool.edu.

Learn more about the BBA in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons Paris.